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Query w/High Request Rate- Devil on a Sparrow Wings


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#1 C. Taylor

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 04:07 PM

Figured I'd post this, since this query had a decent request rate. Never mind that the ms had pacing issues (due to being a sequel that I unsequeled). lol. Actually some of the fulls are still out, though I've moved on to querying my new ms.

I queried a total of 55 agents, 16 were no reponders, 22 were rejections, and then there were 12 partials and 6 fulls. About a 33% request rate.

Dear Agent:

Eight months pregnant, Molly answers a knock at her door and finds the last person she’d ever expect—the husband she mourned and buried two years past.

In steampunk Victorian London, revolution threatens as the poor fight for their very survival. Molly Turner knows her invention, a tinkering like no other, could shift the odds in their favor and has few qualms about stealing the part she needs to complete it. Caught red-handed, matters take an unexpected turn when Malcolm Wallace, the famous tinkerer she’s just burgled, is impressed with her design and offers her employment. Working by his side, Molly’s unable to resist his brilliant mind and charming good looks, but when the Secret Service insists Molly spy on Malcolm, she refuses and suffers the consequences. Finding her battered and abused, Malcolm confesses his love, and proposes with a vow to keep her safe.

Tragedy strikes six months into their marriage when Malcolm is caught in an explosion, his body burned beyond recognition. Distraught, Molly only survives his death due to the care and attention of Malcolm’s dear friend, Ian MacKay. Their friendship turns to love and they marry. Happy once more, the last person Molly expects to find on her doorstep is Malcolm, still very much alive after escaping from the Secret Service. With revolution under foot, Molly must choose between one man who is her heart and the other who is her soul.

DEVIL ON A SPARROW’S WING (96,000 words) is a steampunk romance laced with adventure and intrigue. Thank you for your time.


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#2 Cat Woods

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 04:22 PM

Oooh, I'd read.

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#3 C. Taylor

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 04:28 PM

Thanks, Cat! I thought it was a good story, but I think it was FAR better as Sanctis, book 2 in the Viridis series. But when that died part way through subs due to the agency switch, I figured I'd unsequel the sequel. Of course that lead to me tacking on the entire part of them meeting and falling in love, BEFORE the story I'd written began, and as a result of the word count, the romance got rushed. Then there was the whole 2 husbands issue not being a "traditional" romance, even though it was queried as one. Oh well. Onto JACK!! : )

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#4 Litgal

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 04:32 PM

The minute I saw this query in the critique thread I knew it was going to get massive hits -- I believe I said as much -- I predict your Jack query will do as well. Your voice (I know it seems like I am harping on voice today but it just keeps coming up in all the threads) is so compelling. Congrats on that 33%
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#5 anticipa

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 04:41 PM

"With revolution under foot, Molly must choose between one man who is her heart and the other who is her soul."

Holy crap, Cali! I'd read it just based on this.

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#6 C. Taylor

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 04:55 PM

Thanks, guys! Makes me feel better about all the rejections that followed. lol. I'm still hoping I can turn it back to Sanctis, once Viridis goes somewhere (whether it be an indie or epub). The story made far more sense that way, since the characters' relations were fully developed in the first book.

I hope you're right about Jack. Still early days-- I've started sending it out to the agents that I normally don't have much luck with or the ones that take forever to respond. So far 11 rejections, 3 partials and one full, with a fair amount still out (only started querying a week or two ago). Excited about the full, since the agent I queried (big time NY agency) passed it onto another agent who then contacted me. I've never gotten anything but generic rejects from that agency, so I'm hopeful, though realistic.

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#7 anticipa

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 05:14 PM

Yay! Crossed fingers for more positive responses. :happy:

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#8 C. Taylor

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 05:44 PM

Thanks, ant! And I'm glad you liked that line. It was one of my favorites, too. :blush:

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#9 ColinPeter

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 06:24 PM

Hi Taylor - your query seems effective and glad it is working. I'm curious why you didn't finish with a blurb on yourself? Your enthusistic and have a lot in the works if perhaps even unpublished. Even a single sentence on yourself I thought might be effective, but perhaps there was a reason you thought through it and opted not to insert such a statement?

#10 C. Taylor

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 06:49 PM

Thanks, Colin. To answer your question, in the past, I didn't have any publishing credits so I've always left the bio out. With this query I did have a sentence that stated I'd lost my agent when the agency switched exclusively to YA, and that this manuscript had not been out on submission. With my most recent query, JACK, I've got a nonfiction book due out next spring, so I've been throwing that in. But for the most part, unless the pub credits are from well known pubs/mags, etc. it's usually best to leave the bio out, so that's what I've traditionally done. :smile:

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#11 Mar

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 09:43 PM

Wow. that's an amazing query letter. I'd read that.

#12 C. Taylor

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Posted 08 June 2011 - 05:48 AM

Thanks, Mar! :smile:

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#13 AMK

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 12:12 PM

Nice query. I love the premise. I enjoyed the abrupt opening. Thank you for mentioning the info on bio. I was wondering about that.

#14 Tom Preece

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 03:31 PM

Genuflecting on my knees. Your agent will be able to sell this!

#15 C. Taylor

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 07:17 PM

Thanks, Tom! : )

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#16 Alan Karam

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Posted 21 August 2011 - 07:00 PM

C.Taylor, I love this, I would definitely read it. Good luck:)


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#17 C. Taylor

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Posted 22 August 2011 - 03:30 PM

C.Taylor, I love this, I would definitely read it. Good luck:)


-Alan K.



Thanks Alan!! :biggrin:

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